Tony Abbott Confirms Student Loans For Some Kiwis In Australia

By Editorial 12 February, 2014

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott has confirmed that the Government will implement a decision made by the previous administration to provide some New Zealanders who have grown up in Australia with access to student loans, but that Kiwis will remain ineligible for benefits.

The loans move means that New Zealanders who enter Australia as dependent minors can apply for educational and vocational loans if they are under 18 and have been in the country for at least ten years.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Sydney with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, Abbott said although he would "love" to take credit for the decision, it had been made by the former Labor Government and there had to be "significant continuity" from one Government to the next.

However, he said that he expected New Zealanders who come from Australia to be "lifters, not leaners," and he emphasized that they are the only nationality to enjoy an automatic right of residence and right to work in Australia.

Currently, New Zealanders are ineligible for unemployment benefit unless they have lived in Australia for at least ten years, and even then there is a six-month cut-off point. Many New Zealanders in Australia argue that this restriction is discriminatory, given that they pay taxes in Australia.

Last month, there were complaints of "unlawful racial vilification" after media reports portrayed New Zealanders in Australia as "layabouts" and suggested that New Zealand was acting as a "back door" for migrants from Asian and Pacific nations.

Tags: Australia | New Zealand | Education | Expats | Welfare | Education |


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